This morning I learnt about Giger's death.
At first I didn't want to post anything about this event. I hate when my Fecebook feed looks like a broken Reuters feed with only one piece of information again and again. But for once I'll break my own rule and talk about how I met Hans Ruedi and Carmen and how I remember him.
My first contact with him wasn't Alien, oddly enough. I discovered his work with Magma's Attahk cover and its disturbing sick babies, some 20-25 years ago. I'll learn later that those babies were Hans Ruedi himself and from my point of view it's the key to understand all his work.
My second contact with his work was in 2004 with the exhibition in Paris. My mind was blown - I knew his paintings but didn't know they were so large! I didn't know he was a sculptor, too. And I felt in love with his Nubian Queen.
That's the reason why I contacted the Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland, who put me in touch with Carmen, Hans Ruedi's wife. We sent emails for almost 2 years before I decided to purchase my own Nubian Queen in April 2006. That's when I first met Carmen and Hans Ruedi in Zürich, where they lived.
I'll always remember the first impression of his house and studio. The contrast between a regular house outside and his universe with black walls inside. His house is a second museum with unseen paintings on the toilet door, the Alien monster from the first movie on the ceiling, the babies with mushrooms in the garden, his self portrait as a death mask in a closet... He was the tour guide of his own workshop, explaining his own art, his technique, apologizing for the most "disturbing" pieces with a gentle smile, telling stories and anecdotes about his nightmares, Li and how he got in front of a gun (twice)... That day, Carmen made Cindy and I an amazing gift: their wedding rings first drafts in silver (they had the same in gold). I remember we were talking, sited in the stairs. Those now infamous stairs...
(With Hans Ruedi and Carmen in their house in Zürich).
The year after, we were invited for a garden party. Every year, he threw a party for his friends on Switzerland's National Day (August 1st) and fired dozens of fireworks. Everyone was speaking German. We didn't. So we were not part of the big group - it's not easy to blend with people without knowing their language... When Hans Ruedi arrived, he saluted everyone and since he doesn't like big crowds, he stayed with us all the evening. His French was very good and he was glad he didn't have to talk to more than 2 or 3 people during the night. We helped him lighting torches on the Zodiac Fountain he had in his garden - we had so much fun and in spite of our caution, we ended up in the water! (Also during that night, we met a Swiss terrorist and almost got killed by fireworks. But that's another true story...)
(Cindy and I shot by Giger - with a crappy (not even smart) phone camera)
We only met twice but there are so many things to tell. Just imagine a 10 year-old kid seeing his first Giger's painting meeting the artist!
Today, I'm just sad we'll never meet again. I'll always remember his unique soft voice and kindness and I'll miss him a lot. My thoughts are with Carmen.
In this blog, I'll try to post as often as possible: thoughts, comments, stuff and some pictures, too!